Humour is the foundation of a cartoon and it is its limitation. Attempts to rationalise humour in terms of today’s utilitarian social structure probably explain why political cartooning, and the genre of cartooning as a whole is a dying art. In a fast-paced environment such as the internet, memes emerged as a one-dimensional satirical illustration; they don’t engage with the issue and, therefore, their moral message and practical impact are limited. 

India is endowed with the beauty of diversity in languages, geography, features, habits, cultures, religions, ethnicity and origins. It now seems that the great pot is broken. It’s the time again for rebuilding the social cohesion. We are living through a period of global transition. Technology is connecting us ever more closely, and cross-cultural exchanges are deepening every day — but this does not mean there is more understanding. We must teach our children the history of India, cultures of India, festivals of India and accepting the diversity. Tolerance is our strength and not weakness. Tolerance is not passive.

Ritual formed structure and hierarchy and helped define their place in the world. Ritual gives shape to emotions and helps humans come to terms with the major events of life. As modern religions emerged, ancient rituals were absorbed into new forms. A religious ritual is a standardised, repetitive sequence of activities. It involves the manipulation of religious symbols such as prayers, offerings, and readings of sacred literature.

Changing a town’s name for a singular – even arbitrary – purpose, even if only temporarily, has a relatively long history. Changing names of cities also leaves with a few questions: What good did these city name changes accomplish? Do residents of these cities feel any prouder of their localities now than before? Have the changes resulted in better investment opportunities, infrastructure or living standards?

Baghdad was founded by the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur in 762 CE. When he founded a completely new city for his capital, he chose the name Medina al-Salaam or The City of Peace. This was the official name on coins, weights, and other official usage, although the common people continued to use the old name. Baghdad soon became the home to pioneering scientists, astronomers, poets, mathematicians, musicians, historians, legalists and philosophers. The Baghdad Peace Festival was started in 2011 to remind people of that history.

Shahbandar café is one of Bagh­dad’s few remaining traditional cultural cafés. Since opening its doors, Shahbandar café had become a hub of Baghdad’s intellectual life, drawing poets and politicians to its wooden benches and photo-lined walls.  The café still stands, a testament to the resilience of the country and the capital, Baghdad, even if so much has happened here. From British rule to modern-day Iraq, Shahbandar has lived through the birth of a nation, the toppling of its monarchy, decades of domination by Saddam Hussein, the drama of the US-led invasion and the bloody chaos that followed.